Every mediator has a natural way of working. The two ends of the style spectrum can be expressed as passive and active (or in-your-face).
At the passive end, the mediator may be content to ferry offers and counter offers back and forth and consider his job done if both sides have fully stated their bargaining positions, whether or not they reach agreement.
An active or aggressive mediator considers success as nothing less than agreement, if he believes one is humanly possible. He will typically give the parties wide latitude to argue their positions over the first part of the day.
After listening carefully to both sides, he will begin probing for ways to create movement towards a settlement. He will push each side to more fully acknowledge its own weaknesses and the other’s strengths and he will make each aware of the risks it faces should the case proceed to trial. Active mediators can be quite involved and assertive in late-stage mediation, short of prescribing outcomes.
Many consider Frank Gomberg an active style of mediator.